Gov. Pete Ricketts proclaimed Tuesday “Religious Freedom Day” in Nebraska.
Ricketts called religious freedom a foundational value of our republic, enshrined in the First Amendment, during a ceremony held the Governor’s Hearing Room at the Capitol.
“Religious freedom is also in there with the freedom of the press and freedom of speech and they’re all linked that if we start abrogating or taking away the freedom of one, we undermine the freedom of all those,” Ricketts said during the ceremony.
The proclamation was issued on Tuesday to coincide with the anniversary of the 1786 passage of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom.
Ricketts made mention of Legislative Bill 62, which he signed into law last year, wiping off the books a prohibition against Nebraska public school teachers wearing any kind of religious garb in the classroom.
While religious persecution is thought of as a problem in other countries, some speakers suggested that without vigilance religious liberty could be eroded in this country.
Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt with the Catholic Diocese of Grand Island said he worries religious freedom could be infringed if laws or rules force the religious to violate their conscience.
“And, so one of my biggest concerns is that we be careful not to step over that line where now freedom of religion becomes a coercion to do something that I in conscience feel I may not do,” Hanefeldt said. “And so, it could be a variety of things, but I think that’s my main concern.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]